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The Tyranny of Shoulds
February 12, 2013

thinnerisms wave

Stop shoulding on yourself.  Dr. Albert Ellis

Many of us live our lives with a very long to do list of shoulds, musts, and have to's. This causes an enormous amount of unnecessary pressure, despair, and guilt in our lives, as we can never live up to our own unrelenting standards. Underneath it all, there is usually a desire to be perfect and since this is an unobtainable goal, this is a losing game and a sure fire recipe for misery.

How many of us want to lose weight because we feel we should? Or maybe we have the belief that if we were more perfect looking, then we would be loved, accepted, and finally feel OK about ourselves?

Losing weight because we should causes us to feel rebellious and resentful towards the whole process. What a chore! Doing it because we WANT to makes us a willing participant in the process and that makes it a fun challenge and enjoyable.

Trying to lose weight with a core belief of defectiveness is never a winning proposition. After we lose the weight, we will find continue to find other things wrong about ourselves that will reinforce the feelings of defectiveness. In other words, we will never be satisfied, because we are not satisfied with who we are at a much deeper level. We project this outward towards our external body and life.

If we are living under the tyranny of the shoulds, then dropping the weight of these can result in a lightening and freeing of our spirits, far better than any weight loss program can!

Many of us are operating under the erroneous belief that if we don't try to control and whip ourselves into submission, that we won't ever lose weight. We are afraid that without all the self-flagellation, we will just turn into coach potatoes who never stop eating.

Well the question to ask yourself is this, "Has all this beating myself up given me what I wanted?"  "Is it truly working for me?" Probably not. In fact, it has probably driven you to food to numb out all those painful feelings!

People who live by a lot of shoulds are often rule-based personalities. They are perfectionists, black and white thinkers, and not comfortable with ambiguity. They can be controlling and tend to not give themselves or others room for making mistakes and being human.

They are very detail oriented and tend towards being critical and faultfinding. They are often hard on themselves and can be hard on other people around them, who can be left feeling like nothing they can do for them is good enough. Or they may cut others slack that they don't give to themselves.

Every personality type has its strength and weaknesses. This type of personality has many strengths: good at problem solving, logical and rational, analytical, can be good at math, science or technology, and very detail oriented. Their perfectionism makes them very contentious employees and they always strive to be better.

In relation to themselves and others, they need to learn to soften their standards, learn to relax and let go, stop taking themselves so seriously, embrace their humanness, and allow themselves at times to just be. Life isn't meant to be one long self-improvement project!

When they do, they become happier people and begin to feel at peace with life. Their families and spouses often feel better as well. With this newly found peace and acceptance, they find their emotional overeating improving because "how you do food is how you do life!"


Take some time to write out a list of all the shoulds that are operating in your life. See which ones are actually obtainable and which ones aren't. Then try to change the wording of those shoulds into wants or something that is more realistic. For example, instead of "I should eat perfectly all the time," change to "I eat well most (80%) of the time."  This is a far better statement or rule that you can live by.

Change "I should be perfect" to "I want to strive to be a better person."  Change "I should never make mistakes" to "I'm human and make mistakes because I'm learning." Delete any shoulds on your list that you don't really want to do at all or that you're not interested in pursuing at this time.

Instead of going for perfection, strive for excellence and give yourself pats on the back for all your efforts in the right direction. Allow yourself room to make mistakes and grow, get happy with good enough, and don't use the yardstick of perfection in everything that you do. That's the quickest way to squelch your joy.

Remember to stay focused on your goal, but enjoy the process and the journey, for that's where the true learning, joy, and insight lies. 

If you're a perfectionist who is having a hard time losing weight contact me for a free consultation!

Feast for the Eyes - Photo by Catherine L. Taylor 

Rose Meditation

The rose is a symbol of love. Why not this Valentine's Day cultivate more love in your heart for yourself? Aren't you worthy of your own love and caring?

Take a few minutes each morning and imagine in your heart a many petaled rose. Put your hand over your heart and imagine that the petals of the rose are unfolding and opening your heart. As your heart opens, you are filled with compassion and love for yourself. This love is your true essence.

Now, imagine your whole body being filled with the warmth of this love. As you hold your hand over heart, repeat, "May you be well. May you be happy. May you be free of self-criticism. May you know that you are enough. Be Free."

Inspirational Quotes and Thoughts by Catherine L. Taylor

  • How badly do you WANT to lose weight? A WANT is more powerful than a should or a need to.
  • True motivation comes from within. You must WANT to lose weight more than you want your current habits or they will soon win.
  • WANT power gives you the staying power when the going gets rough. It provides the willingness to endure the obstacles and challenges.
  • WANTING more for yourself because you know you DESERVE more is the best reason to lose weight. You WANT to be all that you can be!

Want daily weight loss and wellness inspiration and affirmations? Follow me on twitter and facebook!

Weekly Affirmations

I am losing weight and feeling happier and healthier.

I am more alive and energetic.

I am ready to live my best life!

I get thinner each day!

Read more about affirmations here.

Are you a perfectionist who is having trouble integrating healthy new behaviors into your life? Is emotional eating keeping you from losing weight and living the life you want?

If so, you may be a candidate for coaching. Coaching can make the difference between success and failure.

I have found that people who struggle with food and emotional eating are released from that prison once they learn the skills of mindful awareness and mindful eating, emotional self-nurturing, developing a spiritual or meditation practice, and learning to set appropriate limits and goals.

This turns off the urge to overeat and engage in other compulsive behaviors. When you feel better, you eat better! I have walked this path myself, and it has led me to peace and freedom.

The goal of my coaching is to create a lighter, balanced, healthier, nourishing and joy-filled life. You will begin to see results in all areas of your life because How You do Food is How You do Life!®

I coach and mentor people in the areas of: permanent weight loss, food addiction, compulsive, emotional overeating, binge eating recovery, creative self expression, spiritual direction, mindfulness, meditation, self care and stress management, self esteem and body image issues.

Note: My work is spiritually focused, not religious, and fits with any belief system you may have, even agnostic. My work assumes that you have all the wisdom and answers you need inside of you.

What you call this place -- God, intuition, Higher Power, inner wisdom, or True Self -- is up to you. I am simply a guide bringing you back to the truths that are already inside of you.

If you want to know more about why and how coaching works click here.

Contact me for a free consultation!

I hope you have enjoyed my newsletter. Drop me a line and let me know how you are doing. I love to hear what's working for you and hear your success stories.

Many Blessings,


Catherine L. Taylor's
How You do Food is How You do Life!®

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©2013 Catherine L. Taylor. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be reprinted in any form without express permission from the author.

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